Monthly Archives: September 2013

Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

I am a biased Neko Case fan. Her voice is so perfect for my ears she could sing the Providence, Rhode Island, phone book and I would close my eyes and soak in every word.

But I’ve never thought she made a “complete” album — until now. I can’t begin to describe the beauty in this new record. Every song has a purpose and unlike other albums, there is not even one or two songs I would skip because it’s actually sequenced like it mattered.

“Night Still Comes” is already a Neko classic. In a great world, this song would be a hit, all over the radio and Internet. But maybe I’m happier having it as my own little secret. This song is certainly up there with “Running Out of Fools” and “Stinging Velvet” among my favorite songs of hers — and, gulp, of all-time.

“There are so many tools that are made for my hands.
But the tide smashes all my best-laid plans to sand.
And there’s always someone to say it’s easy for me,
But I revenge myself all over myself.
There’s nothing you can say to me.”

When I hear the “revenge myself all over myself” it actually makes me feel guilty. I think about all the times in my life I have been too hard on myself or felt unworthy or sabotaged my happiness or welfare in any way. I actually feel that push on my chest when she says that line in the song, yet I let it power me and give me strength to keep listening what clearly is a beautiful piece of music.

Which brings us to “Calling Cards.” If it wasn’t for “Night Still Comes” this would be the reason alone this album is so great. As I write this it’s playing and it’s just one of those songs that put you in a place you’ve never been but you’ve now felt you’ve been there.

“Every dial tone, every truck stop, every heartbreak, I love you more.
Looking like you just woke up from making songs
Shooting satellites that blew up the pay phones.
Singing, ‘we’ll all be together, even when we’re not together’
With our arms around each other
With our faith still in each other.'”

And this isn’t even mentioning what is probably her poppy-est song ever. “Man” is about as happy as a New Pornographers tune but it’s all Neko. The fact that the song that is clearly her most accessible, catchy, Top 40-ish sounding thing ever is honorable mention tells you how good this album is.

Other key tracks: “Bracing for Sunday” and “Ragtime.”

The best part of this is, I get to see this amazing woman sing on Thursday at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. I’ve seen her in person both times — once solo and once with the New Pornographers — and she definitely brought the vibe.